(Editor's Note: Each year, Arkansas Business partners with the Arkansas Municipal League to present the Trendsetter City awards, which recognize exceptional initiatives underway in municipalities across the state. Large, medium and small-sized cities were honored in six categories: Diversity and Inclusion; Education/Workforce Development; Infrastructure and Water; Public Works/Environmental and Green Management; Technology and Security; and Tourism Development/Creative Culture. Below is one winner's story. For more, click here.)
Public Works/Environmental and Green Management
Winner • 20,000 or Greater
Mayor: Josh Agee
The Paragould Video Security Network’s cost to taxpayers is minimal because it works within established police, IT center and 911 center budgets and lowers the need for emergency personnel throughout the city.
In late 2021, Paragould, like many communities across the nation, acknowledged its struggles with critical emergency staffing. The city specifically wanted around-the-clock monitoring of its newest recreational experience, the 8 Mile Creek Trail, which will connect most of the city’s parks, downtown and several public school sites. While saving money and resources, Paragould was set on staying up to date with the latest trends in technology to keep the city running and to be well equipped to provide support for the growing community.
Cameras equipped with license plate readers placed at Paragould’s main entrances and exits alert police of suspect vehicles like those related to AMBER alerts, endangered or absconding individuals and whatever customizable field an officer requests.
The Paragould Video Security Network places cameras directly on the 8 Mile Creek Trail to provide high-clarity images directly to the city’s 24-hour, Emergency 911 Crime Center. Audio that might aid investigations is available from each camera, and the system has the capability to issue high decibel alarms from every camera tower. With Paragould’s advancement in broadband communications, officers can patch directly into the Paragould Video Security Network from their vehicles to observe suspect identification, descriptions of fleeing vehicles and direction of travel.